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Ford Cooperates with Quantum on Hybrid Conversions: South Coast Sponsors Escape + Prius Projects

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  • Felix Kramer
    The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has been a long-term supporter of plug-in hybrids, beginning with its early projects with Prof. Andy
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2007
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      The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has been a
      long-term supporter of plug-in hybrids, beginning with its early
      projects with Prof. Andy Frank at UC Davis and with AC Propulsion.
      CalCars was part of South Coast's 2005 project to sponsor EnergyCS's
      conversion of several vehicles, including one for us

      Last Friday, after a competitive bidding process, SCAQMD awarded
      Quantum Technologies $2,095,613 to purchase and convert 20 Ford
      Escape Hybrids. As described below in the Board's report, Quantum has
      a long history in technology integration. Quantum was the contractor
      for SCAQMD's much-criticized $5M project in 2004 to convert Priuses
      into hybrids fueled by hydrogen. Now Quantum has the opportunity to
      do a great job showing how the Ford Escape can become a great PHEV.
      For this project, Quantum will sub-contract with Advanced Lithium
      Power (a Vancouver battery technology company that's 19% owned by
      Quantum) -- see the April 3, 2006 press release at

      The biggest news was quietly noted: "For this project, Quantum has
      support from Ford Motor Company." While we have no details about how
      it will work, this marks the first time that a car-maker is
      cooperating with an outside integrator to to make-over its hybrid
      into a PHEV. We hope this will motivate Toyota to follow suit, or
      hasten its plans to produce PHEVs.

      South Coast AQMD also announced a $622,000 award to Hymotion for 10
      Prius conversions on vehicles to be provided by conversion
      recipients. Hymotion brings highly-regarded Aerovironment
      <www.aerovironment.com> in as a partner, giving us the opportunity to
      see that company's fast-charging technology put to use with
      A123Systems batteries. Hymotion is also partnering with University of
      California at Riverside's Center for Environmental Research and
      Technology <http://www.cert.ucr.edu>.

      We're reproducing excerpts from the announcement below. But we
      encourage readers to view the actual page
      <http://www.aqmd.gov/hb/2007/march/07034a.html>, which includes
      ranking tables for the five bidders. (The other three were EnergyCS,
      EDrive Systems and Electro Energy Inc.)

      BOARD MEETING DATE: March 2, 2007
      Execute Contracts for Development and Demonstration of 30 Plug-In
      Hybrid Electric Vehicles

      On November 3, 2006, the Board approved the release of an RFP to
      design and demonstrate a fleet of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
      with corresponding recharging stations at up to fifteen sites within
      the South Coast Air Basin. Five complete proposals were received,
      subsequently reviewed, and scored by a panel of outside
      experts. This action is to fund $2,718,280 from AQMD to develop and
      demonstrate 30 plug-in hybrid electric passenger vehicles.

      1. Authorize the Chairman of the Board to execute a contract with
      Quantum Technologies for the development and demonstration of 20
      plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, including cost of base vehicles, in
      an amount not to exceed $2,095,613 from the Clean Fuels Fund.
      2. Authorize the Chairman of the Board to execute a contract with
      Hymotion for the development and demonstration of 10 plug-in hybrid
      electric vehicles, not including cost of base vehicles to be provided
      by demonstration sites, in an amount not to exceed $622,667 from the
      Clean Fuels Fund.
      Barry R. Wallerstein, D.Env. Executive Officer


      The AQMP has identified the use of alternative clean fuels in mobile
      sources as a key air quality attainment strategy. True zero-tailpipe
      emission passenger vehicles, however, are either no longer
      manufactured (e.g., battery-electric vehicles) or are not anticipated
      to be sold in large numbers before 2015 (e.g. fuel cell
      vehicles). The AQMD has sponsored plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
      (PHEV) demonstrations for over six years because of the potential for
      this technology to enable zero-tailpipe emissions for portions of the
      driving cycle. Similar to commercially available hybrid-electric
      vehicles, PHEVs utilize a battery pack and an electric motor in
      concert with an internal combustion engine. PHEVs, however, can
      employ a larger battery pack which can be designed to extend the
      electric portion of the driving cycle, providing improved fuel
      economy, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced petroleum
      dependence. The larger battery pack must be fully recharged external
      to the vehicle so a charger, plug, and energy management system must
      be integrated into the vehicle.

      There has been increasing support for PHEVs from a wide array of
      organizations, including electric utilities, environmental groups,
      energy independence organizations, and other air districts. Several
      automobile manufacturers have also announced plans to investigate the
      technology but voice concerns about the battery durability in terms
      of calendar and cycle life. In order to discuss these concerns and
      identify the major obstacles to PHEV deployment, staff hosted a forum
      and technical roundtable on July 12, 2006 with invited experts from
      DOE, NREL, Sandia, CARB, Johnson Controls, SCE, EPRI, and
      EnergyCS. One major result of this technical roundtable was
      consensus by the panel members that early demonstrations are needed
      to provide real-world data as feedback for the technology providers
      to improve the battery specifications, energy management systems, and
      packaging. This information would then help produce reliable
      systems, which in turn may stimulate an early market, increase
      production, and thus lower the costs for these batteries and
      PHEVs. The proposed project is to conduct this early demonstration
      using converted commercially available hybrid electric vehicles in
      sufficient numbers to provide a wide array of driving cycles, expose
      a large number of users to PHEV technology, and establish
      statistically significant data for feedback to the battery manufacturer.

      At the November 3, 2006 meeting, the Governing Board approved RFP
      #P2007-14 to design, engineer, convert, test, certify, demonstrate,
      and maintain for 60 months 30 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with
      supporting infrastructure at up to 15 demonstration sites in the
      South Coast Air Basin.

      Selection Process
      Five complete proposals were received in response to the RFP. The
      proposal from Quantum Technologies was for only a Ford Escape Hybrid
      platform. The proposal from E Drive was for only a Toyota Prius
      platform. The other three proposals provided options for a mix of
      vehicles. Pursuant to the Procurement Policy and Procedure, the RFP
      identified 100 possible points for the technical score and 20
      possible points for the cost score. Within the 20 points for cost,
      10 points were for the lowest cost in terms of absolute dollars, with
      additional points assigned based on the level of cost share. An
      evaluation team with strong expertise in advanced batteries, electric
      and hybrid electric transportation, and government policy issues was
      assembled. Comprising the panelists were staff from CARB's Branch
      for On-Road Control Regulations, a transportation technology expert
      from U.C. Davis, a CEC Transportation Research Manager, an expert in
      advanced batteries from the Department of Energy, and an electric
      utility transportation expert (five males and one female; four
      Caucasian and two Asian/Pacific Islander).

      Based on the Panel's evaluation, staff recommends awarding two
      contracts; one to Quantum to convert 20 new Ford Escape Hybrid
      vehicles, with delivery of the first 6 vehicles within 10 months of
      contract execution, and the remaining 14 vehicles within 12 months of
      contract execution, and one to Hymotion to convert 10 new Toyota
      Prius vehicles, with delivery of the first 6 vehicles within 10
      months of contract execution, and the remaining 4 vehicles within 12
      months of contract execution. AQMD will work with interested fleets
      to develop the demonstration program at up to 15 sites. Depending on
      performance under these proposed contracts and value to AQMD, funding
      for additional vehicles may be requested.

      Quantum, with headquarters in Irvine, California, is an established
      world leader in the design, development, manufacturing, and
      commercialization of gaseous fuel management systems and alternate
      fueled vehicles. Since 1997, Quantum has produced over 16,000
      alternate fueled vehicles. Quantum is the manufacturer of record
      with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for GM's CNG powered
      Chevrolet Cavalier, full size Van and medium and heavy-duty CNG
      powered Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks. Quantum's Advanced
      Vehicle Concept Center (AVCC) in Lake Forest is a state-of-the-art
      engine and vehicle development facility by recognized automobile
      manufacturers worldwide. Quantum has the unique capability to
      develop, validate, certify, and commercialize specialty vehicles from
      the design stage to mass production. The Lake Forest facility has
      the latest engine and chassis dynamometers commercially available,
      and the only SULEV emissions laboratory on the West Coast, recognized
      by CARB. Quantum has also produced hydrogen fuel cell powered
      Neighborhood (NVs) and All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) in 2002 and 2004,
      respectively. The latter is currently in production for the U.S.
      Army. In 2003, Quantum developed a hydrogen fueled 2002 Toyota
      Prius, equipped with compressed hydrogen and metal hydride storage
      systems. The hydrogen powered Prius prototype produces comparable
      power to the gasoline version, along with increased fuel efficiency
      and almost zero emissions, the latter consistent with CARB's current
      partial zero emission standards. In 2004, in response to a
      competitive RFP, Quantum was awarded a contract with AQMD to develop
      and demonstrate 30 hydrogen-powered Prius vehicles. For this
      project, Quantum has support from Ford Motor Company, and will
      sub-contract with Advanced Lithium Power. Quantum had annual sales
      of $25 million in 2002-2003 and has 150 employees.

      Hymotion, with headquarters in Ontario, Canada, is a provider of
      complete integration for hybrid and fuel cell systems, with over ten
      years of experience in the alternative fuel industry. Hymotion has
      delivered Prius PHEVs to Argonne National Labs, National Renewable
      Energy Lab, CoStar, Veridian, FairFax County, and HOURCAR, and is in
      pilot production with over 35 orders at the time of their
      proposal. For this project with AQMD, Hymotion has support from A123
      and AeroVironment, and will be sub-contracting with UC Riverside,
      CE-CERT. Demonstration sites, still to be determined, are expected to
      pay for the base cost of 10 Toyota Prius vehicles. The cost of both
      projects to the AQMD shall not exceed $2,718,280. Total cost is
      estimated to be $3,379,663 with cost-sharing summarized in the table below:


      Quantum Technologies and ALP will provide almost $720,000 in
      cost-share by absorbing approximately 25% of the design, engineering,
      and administrative costs over the entire project. Hymotion and
      AeroVironment will provide $100,000 in cost-share using the
      fast-charging infrastructure.

      Benefits to AQMD
      The expansion of the PHEV program is included in the Technology
      Advancement Office Clean Fuels Program 2006 Plan Update under items
      "Demonstrate Light Duty Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles" and
      "Develop and Demonstrate Medium- and Heavy-Duty Hybrid Vehicles and
      Systems." Plug-in hybrid technologies overall have potential for
      lower criteria pollutant emissions and zero local emissions during
      portions of the commute when vehicles are operating on battery
      only. This can provide substantial benefits to communities,
      neighborhoods, and schools where these vehicles operate.

      The AQMD has been a leader in developing and demonstrating plug-in
      hybrid technologies. Expansion of the AQMD PHEV Program will
      accelerate the determination of commercial viability for this
      technology and its associated air quality benefits. Staff believes
      the PHEV strategy can be an enabling technology for all types of
      alternative fuels, such as CNG and hydrogen, by reducing the size of
      the most costly components (e.g., gaseous storage tanks and the fuel
      cell stack) and relying more heavily on the battery system.

      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
      Felix Kramer fkramer@...
      Founder California Cars Initiative
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
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